Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ann, Anne or Annie?

I loved teaching at the language school during the summer months. It was a real challenge to cater for several groups of different ages and abilities for three hours every morning. I loved preparing the lessons and finding them ‘things to do’ if they finished their work before I got back to them. One week I remember having three groups, unfortunately one girl was on her own. She was obviously uncomfortable, not only being on her own but because she had been sent to improve her English before school began again in September. As it happened I left her to do an exercise on possession and when I got back she challenged me. The possessive adjective agrees with the possessor i.e. 'his house', if the house belongs to a man. Why does Ann pick up her book? She explained to me that in French Ann is the masculine form of the name and Anne is feminine. I had no idea that Ann could be a man’s name and we both agreed that we didn’t know of any male with that name. The fact that she taught me something about French boosted her ego no end and she made good progress over the week that followed.

This evening I was listening to the radio. There is another film about Darwin and his daughter Annie being released. This is my blog post about Anne Darwin from July 2004:

“Darwin’s daughter

When we visit Malvern priory I like to look at the old grave stones. A lot of them are unreadable now, being a couple of hundred years old. I was very surprised to see an elderly lady tending one of the graves. She came up to me and asked if I was interested in History. She told me about the grave she had been looking after; It was the Grave of Anne Darwin who was brought to Malvern by her father, Charles Darwin, when she was ten years old to take the cure. She had T.B., unfortunately she died and was buried at the Priory. The lady told me that although she’d lived there for over 50 years she didn’t know about this until recent years. She lives in a flat which contains the room where Anne died.

Looking again at the grave stones I could see that a lot of people were from other parts of England, a lot of them were women and girls.

The cure consisted of drinking lots of water and walking the hills. I think you’ll agree that a lot of people would benefit from that today.”

Anne or Annie?


Mary Lou said...

I dont know of any male ANN's either! but I suppose there could be!

Dru Marland said...

Apparently Christian names were far less gendered at one time, though I can't find any references right now. But Evelyn Waugh's first wife was also an Evelyn... I know two Annies but no Annes; and a Kate and a Katie, the latter of whom gets v uppity if she's called Kate....

Anji said...

Mary Lou: Reminds me of the song about a man named Sue.

Dru: I know that the English messed around with the Huguenot names. Rob’s nephew raised a lot of sniggers on a school trip to France being called Laurence. I've noted Katie down as Katie. I hate being called 'Anj'.

Phyllis said...

My middle name is Ann.

Anji said...

Phyllis:Anglo saxon countries don't bother about masculine and feminine spelling of the name.